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Coronary bypass surgery is also known as Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery and Coronary Artery Bypass G

Updated: Thursday, Jun 03,2010, 10:37:31 AM
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Coronary bypass surgery is also known as Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery and Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG). In this procedure, blood is rerouted around clogged arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen to the heart.

During the surgery, a piece of healthy vein is taken from somewhere else in the body - for example the leg, the chest or the wrist - and it is then attached to the heart artery above and below the narrowed area. This creates a "bypass" around the blockage.

In many cases, besides fixing the artery that is blocked, the surgeon will fix additional arteries on the heart that are starting to look blocked because of coronary heart disease. The number of arteries repaired becomes the name of the procedure. For example, if the surgeon repairs three of the arteries, it is called a triple bypass. If four arteries are repaired, it's a quadruple bypass.

Bypass is considered major surgery. It is done under general anesthesia. For some patients, minimally-invasive robotic-assisted bypass surgery is an option.  bypass can be the preferred procedure for some patients, for example someone with severe angina or chest pain. It may also be appropriate for someone who's already had angioplasty and the angioplasty either hasn't been successful or the blockage has returned. Bypass may also be used if the blockage can't be reached by angioplasty.

Sometimes, more than one bypass operation is needed. A bypass also can close again. This happens in more than 10 percent of bypass surgeries, usually after 10 or more years. As with any surgery, there are risks and benefits that you should discuss with your doctor.

Bypass can fix a blocked artery, but it is not a cure for the underlying disease that caused it, such as atherosclerosis. Lifestyle changes that are still important after a bypass include:

    * stop smoking
    * switch to a low fat diet
    * avoid saturated fats
    * maintain desirable cholesterol and blood pressure levels
    * lose weight if needed
    * exercise

Medications are also routinely given after heart surgery to keep your blood cholesterol at a desirable level, to reduce your risk of developing a blood clot and to help your heart function as well as possible.

Tags: Surgery Coronary bypass

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